Magic Johnson came into the NBA in 1979 real hot after beating Larry Bird in the national championship, so he got plenty of sneaker deals thrown at him – including one from Nike.
Along with Nike, Adidas and Converse offered Magic a sponsorship deal.
The Lakers legend decided to sign with Converse, which financially speaking was definitely not the best option but he didn’t have a crystal ball at the time.
“Nike was just a year or two old,” Johnson said on a January episode of All The Smoke. “And so, Converse offered me the most money. So, you know, when you grow up broke, you take the money. [Nike co-founder] Phil Knight came in and said, ‘Hey, I can’t offer you the same type of money, but I can offer you stock.’
“I didn’t know nothing about it. My family didn’t come from money. See, that’s one thing that hurt us sometimes. When you don’t come from money, I didn’t even know what stocks was at that time. So I passed on the stocks. Can you imagine? Forty-five years. Five billion dollars that stock would’ve been worth today.”
It’s hard to feel too sorry for Magic, since he is still estimated to be worth around $620 million right now – a lot of that thanks to Magic Johnson Enterprises.
The now-63-year-old owns restaurants and entertainment venues but even so, the Nike stuff still haunts him.
Back in 2017 on The Ellen Show, he said, “Boy, did I make a mistake… I’m still kicking myself. Every time I’m in a Nike Store, I get mad. I could have been making money off of everybody buying Nikes right now.”
As most NBA fans know, Nike and Michael Jordan made a deal in 1984 that included his own line of shoes called Air Jordan.
It was a $2.5 million deal for five years, plus and an additional 5 percent royalties on the profit from the sale of his signature line.
Since then, it is estimated that Jordan has made over $1.4 billion from his Nike deal and he made $256 million from Nike in 2022 alone. Wild.